HC Deb 12 May 1933 vol 277 cc1853-4

11.37 a.m.


I beg to move, in page 3, to leave out lines 28 to 34, and to insert instead thereof the words: Subject to the provisions of this section no bank shall, in connection with any transaction on any account of any solicitor kept with it or with any other bank (other than an account kept by a solicitor as trustee for a specified beneficiary) incur any liability or be under any obligation to make any enquiry or be deemed to have any knowledge of any right of any person to any money paid or credited to any such account which it would not incur or be under or be deemed to have in the case of an account kept by a person entitled absolutely to all the money paid or credited to it. Provided that nothing in this sub-section shall relieve a bank from any liability or obligation under which it would be apart from this Act. In Committee had two Clauses upon the Paper in a somewhat curious situation, and on the morning we met the Attorney-General had put down another Clause which seemed to be better, and accordingly I did not move them. I said that we had not had much notice of it and that we should keep the door open for further Amendments on the Report stage. I understand that the Bankers' Association, my hon. Friend in charge of the Bill the Member for Skipton (Mr. Bird), and the Attorney-General have had some conversations together and have come to the conclusion that the situation would be more satisfactory if lines 28 to 34 were left out and the words on the Paper were inserted.


I beg to second the Amendment.

11.38 a.m.


It is true to say that the Amendment has been drafted by the Bankers' Association. The Bankers' Association naturally do not want to have some additional liability put upon the banks in connection with the passing of clients and customers' cheques merely because of additional precautions taken in connection with solicitors. On the other hand, the original Clause put forward would, in the opinion of my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General, have made a general amendment of the law in favour of banks which would have been altogether outside the scope of the Bill. It exempted them from the liability which they might have had quite apart from any solicitors' accounts. The object has been to achieve two things, not to extend the bankers' liability in connection with the keeping of solicitors' accounts, and, at the same time, not to exempt them from any liability which at present they may be under apart from the provisions of this Bill. I think it may fairly be said that the Clause meets the case.

11.40 a.m.


I am glad that the Solicitor-General has explained the Amendment. In Committee upstairs there was a proposal, hon. Members will recollect, in which some hon. Members, and, I think, the hon. Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams) actually wanted the banks to do the accountancy work of solicitors.


indicated dissent.


That would have been the ultimate result whatever the intention of the hon. Gentleman might have been. The results of his propaganda do not always coincide with his intentions by the way.


My original proposals were not accepted, and the proposal made by the Attorney-General was accepted.


It amounts to the same thing. However, I am glad that the suggestion has not been accepted and that the banks shall have no liability at all thrust upon them for keeping the accounts separate. That is the business of solicitons entirely.

Amendment agreed to.